May 7, 2021 – As the healthcare sector continues to expand and reshape itself, vanguard organizations in the field are looking to bolster their leadership ranks. In demand: multi-skilled executives, physician leaders and nurses who can effect change on many levels. Of the four major C-suite roles in the typical hospital, the top nursing executive has traditionally been the most difficult to secure, according to recruiters. To that end, executive recruitment firm Furst Group, which serves the healthcare and insurance industries, has placed Caroline Njau as senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer of Children’s Minnesota.
“We’re thrilled to have Caroline join the Children’s Minnesota family and bring her wealth of expertise to our patients and families,” said Dr. Marc Gorelick, president and CEO of Children’s Minnesota. “I’m confident that her optimistic leadership and deep commitment to health equity, diversity and inclusion, and continuous patient care improvement will help us shape our future to better meet the needs of our patient families today and in the future.”
Ms. Njau has worked in a variety of healthcare leadership positions for more than 15 years. Previously, she was director of hospital and nursing operations at Park Nicollet Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park. Most recently, she co-led the health equity initiative. Ms. Njau began her nursing career in medical-telemetry units at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta. Ms. Njau earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Kennesaw State University in Georgia and an MBA from the University of St. Thomas.
In her new role with Children’s Minnesota, Ms. Njau will be responsible for patient care operations across two hospital campuses, including nursing and patient and family services, as well as nursing strategy, education and professional development. She is a member of the Children’s Minnesota executive leadership team.
“Healthcare has been rapidly evolving over the last few years and we have experienced growth and change in so many ways,” said Ms. Njau. “As we pave forward our path and design the next generation of pediatric care, we will continue to ground ourselves in our shared values, mission and vision that makes Children’s Minnesota such a treasured part of the community.”
Children’s Minnesota is the seventh largest pediatric health system in the U.S. and the only health system in Minnesota to provide care exclusively to children, from before birth through young adulthood. An independent and not-for-profit system since 1924, Children’s Minnesota serves kids throughout the upper Midwest at two free-standing hospitals, 12 primary and specialty care clinics and six rehabilitation sites.
Furst Group, which is headquartered in Rockford, IL, partners with many of the premier healthcare organizations in the world, from providers and payers to life-science companies and private equity/venture capital firms. While Furst Group’s roots are in managed care, the firm continues to be one of the nation’s leading executive search partners to health systems, hospitals, academic medical centers, post-acute and hospice and palliative care facilities. Its work with insurers stretches back to the HMO era, yet the firm also teams with life-science, pharmaceutical and medical device companies. Furst Group also has offices in Phoenix, AZ; Radnor, PA; San Francisco; Brentwood, TN; Chicago; Irving, TX; Minneapolis, MN; Seattle; St. Louis; and Washington, D.C.
Finding Nursing Talent
Top nursing executives have a variety of duties, depending on the facility where they work. Most importantly, the position calls for supervising nurses and nurse managers. They also oversee design and implementation of patient-care delivery, and serve as leaders in their facility’s efforts to maintain outcome levels. They are some of the most sought after and highly visible leaders in the hospital and healthcare environment.
An expanding number of search firms have been working with healthcare organizations to find top nursing executives in recent months. Here’s a look at a sampling taken from the Hunt Scanlon Media archives:
University Hospitals (UH) has retained Summit Talent Group to conduct a national search for the position of system chief nursing executive. This executive will be responsible and accountable for the overall delivery and management of nursing operations, professional practice, education, professional development, research, administration and clinical services, said the search firm. The incoming leader will have staff accountability for enhancing a clinical practice environment that is patient centered, with unsurpassed patient experience, clinical quality and patient safety while also providing significant contributions to education and research.
Executive search firm Westmont Search placed Rhonda Kazik as the chief nursing officer for Essentia Health’s East market based in Duluth, MN. Managing partner Peter Blau and search director Carolyn Lecocq led the assignment for the health system. Most recently, Ms. Kazik was the system chief nursing officer at Community Health Systems in Fresno, CA.
Orlando, FL-headquartered healthcare-focused search firm Kirby Bates Associates (KBA) was called in by Cambridge Health Alliance in Massachusetts to lead in its search for a new chief nursing officer. The assignment is being led by Chris Corwin. “This is an exciting time to be joining Cambridge Health Alliance, an innovative community-based healthcare provider serving a highly diverse population,” the search firm said.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media